Faculty Senate Executive Committee Meeting 38 – April 22, 2011


1.   The meeting was called to order at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 22, 2011 in the PresidentÕs Conference Room in Green Hall, Chairperson Eaton presiding.  All members were present.


2.  Announcements and Correspondence:


     a.     Chairperson Eaton announced that Vice President Alfonso had requested that he, along with other members of the his staff and the Council for Research, meet with the FSEC about revisions to the Intellectual Property Proposal in anticipation of being able to have the Report of the Council for Research on the May 12 Faculty Senate Agenda.  It was agreed to invite Vice President Alfonso to the April 29 Executive Committee Meeting from 11:30 to 12:30 and to request that any documents on the revised proposal be forwarded to the Executive Committee in advance of the meeting.


     b.     Senator Barbour reported that the University was scheduled to submit a 5-year update of their self-study for NEASC in 2012.  She explained that she would need the help of faculty, including members of the FSEC, for the subcommittees updating various sections. Senator Barbour said she would forward a list of areas to the FSEC and request names of potential faculty members to work on the self-study.


     c.     Senator Ciccomascolo reported that the Survey Monkey survey on the IDEA would be sent out in May when the IDEA was recent enough for people to feel able to comment on it.


     d.     Chairperson Eaton and Senator Barbour reported that they had attended the ProvostÕs Chairpersons Forum that morning.  They said that discussed at the Forum were global education and online and distance learning.


3.   The Executive Committee discussed the Faculty Senate Meeting #7, which had been held the previous afternoon. There was general agreement that the meeting went well.  It was noted that Senators were more engaged in the discussion than they had been earlier in the year, which they attributed to the Committee ChairsÕ presentation of their reports. The FSEC members thanked Senator Ciccomascolo for the presentation she and Dean Killingbeck made on assessment of graduate student learning outcomes.


Members of the FSEC agreed that they were surprised that Senator Gale Eaton proposed an amendment to shorten the drop period to three weeks, but were pleased that after discussion, the amendment passed.  Some members of the committee expressed concern that the Student Senate would be unhappy with the turn of the votes from February to April.  They agreed that the advocates for shortening the drop period had made a number of strong points that convinced enough Senators to vote differently than they had the first time the drop period legislation was introduced.


4.   The Executive Committee discussed the following items of continuing interest:


      a.   Service:  The Executive Committee reviewed the draft criteria for the Faculty Senate Outstanding Service Award and approved it in Final Form.


It was agreed that beginning in 2012, the Executive Committee would ask for nominations for the award, but in the interest of getting the award started they chose first recipient Faculty Senate Outstanding Service Award and agreed to present the award at the May Faculty Senate Meeting following the FSECÕs Report to the Faculty Senate on Service.


Chairperson Eaton was asked to contact the URI Foundation about supporting the Outstanding Service Award in the future.


      b.   Grand Challenges:  Chairperson Eaton reported that Professor DiCioccio and Professor Stevenson would report to the Faculty Senate at the May 12 Meeting about the Grand Challenges project and the results of the initial assessment.                                         


      c.   Web-based Catalog:  It was agreed that the meeting with Mr. Kolton and Ms. Edwards on moving to a University Catalog that would be entirely available on the web should be scheduled for the first 15 minutes of their April 29 FSEC Meeting.


      5.   The Executive Committee met with Provost DeHayes and Ms. Morrissey from 11:30 to 12:40.  The Provost began the meeting by expressing his appreciation for the Faculty SenateÕs decision to shorten the drop period after a full discussion at the previous afternoonÕs meeting.  He said that early after he arrived at URI he began to question the length of the drop period and think about the possibility that the late drop period might be one cause of the UniversityÕs low 4-year graduation rate.


After discussion of the Faculty Senate meeting and possible implications of the vote, the following matters were considered:


            a.   Report on International Education at URI:  the Executive Committee and Provost DeHayes discussed Dr. Norman Peterson's report and noted that among his strongest recommendations was that the University provide greater coordination for all of the global initiatives taking place on campus.  Dr. Peterson noted that although a number of efforts were underway all over campus, very little was known about them beyond the specific departments and programs involved.  He suggested that because there wasnÕt any coordination, some of the efforts didnÕt have enough support to develop beyond the individual faculty or department level.  The Executive Committee questioned the addition of another administrative position.  Provost DeHayes responded that the idea for coordination of global efforts had been strongly recommended by the Task Force on Global Education.


Provost DeHayes said that Dr. Peterson had suggested improving recruitment of international undergraduate students and providing services to support the students when they were admitted.


b.   Advising: Chairperson Eaton reported that she had been asked by an Advising Committee member to find a faculty member from the College of Arts and Sciences representing a science department to serve on the committee. Professor Bill Euler had agreed to serve.


c.   SLOAA-Online Positions:  The FSEC asked Provost DeHayes about the status of the proposed new position responsible for Online Learning initiatives as well as the SLOAA Office.  The Provost said that the DirectorÕs position description was still under development, but that there had been progress with regard to the proposed organization, with the two coordinatorsÕ/assistant directorsÕ positions currently filled by Ms. Finan and Professor Torrens.


d.   End-of-year Review: The Executive Committee asked Provost DeHayes what he felt were the SenateÕs main accomplishments this year.  Provost DeHayes said that he had been especially pleased that the Faculty Senate discussions at meetings were substantial and demonstrated that the Senate is a robust body that gives thoughtful consideration to issues that face the University. 


The Provost thanked the FSEC for the Faculty SenateÕs commitment to making the first year of the Joint Committee on Academic Planning (JCAP) a successful one in dealing with the many recommendations of the various Academic Plan Task Forces.


The Provost said that he is pleased with the latest data on retention, graduation rates, and recruitment.  He thanked the FSEC and faculty for their efforts in helping the Administration to address these issues.


Provost DeHayes said that he felt that URI was making real progress in assessing undergraduate and graduate student learning as demonstrated by the recent reports to the Senate.  In addition, he cited the efforts to improve academic program assessment that had been undertaken by the Academic Program Review Committee (APRC) this year. 


The Provost said that he had believed since first arriving at URI that the extended drop period had a negative effect on commitment of students to their education, as well as contributing to the UniversityÕs undistinguished graduation rates. He repeated what he had said earlier that had been impressed to see that the Faculty Senate dealt directly and thoughtfully with the difficult issues surrounding the drop period. He used the term, academic integrity, to describe the goals of a shortening of the drop period and suggested that we have a learning contract between faculty and students.  He also noted that linked to the drop period changes were the FSECÕs commitment to work with him on improving advising and providing faculty with support for improving course syllabi as well.


Other accomplishments included: creation of the Office of Online and Distance Learning, Function of the Graduate School, thirty-seven faculty lines, collaboration with the ACE, Advising Committee formation, classroom upgrade, progress made on diversity, emerging new general education program, and successful review by the NEASC team.  He also noted that he appreciated the collaborative work that the FSEC has done with the administration that has allowed the institution to keep moving forward. 


Looking forward, Provost DeHayes said he was hopeful that along with continuing current efforts would be an attempt to coordinate experiential learning in a more effective way, to move forward with the APRC recommendations, and to improve the implementation of syllabi and final exam policy.


Members of the Executive Committee said that they believed that their efforts on behalf of enhancing respect and acknowledgement of faculty membersÕ service to the institution was beginning to make a difference. Provost DeHayes concurred.


He noted that the preview of the Princeton ReviewÕs comments about URI was significantly more positive about URIÕs academics than it had been in previous years.  Ms. Morrissey agreed to forward the advance copy of the Princeton Reviews comments on URI to the members of the FSEC.


The meeting was adjourned at 12:40 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Sheila Black Grubman